Echo VR’s days are numbered, as Meta announced earlier this year it would soon be pulling the plug on one of its most successful games on Quest. But hardcore players of zero-G sports game Echo VR and its shooter variant Echo Combat aren’t going down without a fight.
Organizers behind a protest group called ‘The Fight For Echo’ are looking to keep their favorite game alive, and they’re apparently ready to take drastic measures.
On Wednesday, March 1st, the group commissioned an airplane-towed message to fly over Meta’s HQ in Menlo Park, California, which then circled the heart of Silicon Valley for over three hours for all to see. The message was directed at Meta founder & CEO Mark ‘Zuck’ Zuckerberg, stating: “ZUCK, DON’T KILL VR ESPORTS FIGHTFORECHO.COM”
You can see the plane in action, courtesy of a YouTube livestream by ‘rev2600’, one such dedicated Echo VR player:
The protest group explained the move on the Fight For Echo website:
While we are extremely passionate about these games and are very supportive of the team at Ready at Dawn and the Echo Games franchise on the whole, we think we can still help Meta and Ready at Dawn by continuing to be the testing ground and supportive community we always have been and provide a place where larger ideas for other VR games can be tested.
We cannot do that however without some kind of game server being provided to the community to host ourselves, or minimal infrastructure to play on and the permission to work with the people required to do it.
We understand that there is a future direction being taken; and that it is tied to regulations and compliance, and our intention is not to hold anything back. We only wish to continue to do what we’ve always done and be the ambassadors of VR that you want us to be.
The Meta-owned developers Ready at Dawn announced in late January that it was shutting down the popular free-to-play multiplayer game Echo VR, which is slated to go dark on August 1st.
At the time, the studio said the decision to shut down the game “was made for many good reasons and chief among them is the studio coming together to focus on our next project.”
Undeterred by the airplane-towed plea, Meta sent out the following message to Echo VR players last night:
We are reaching out to let you know that Echo VR servers will shut down on August 1st, 2023 – 10: 30 AM Pacific. On this date, both Echo VR and Echo Combat will no longer be playable.
Add-ons are no longer available for purchase in the Quest store. Echo Points are no longer available for purchase in the Echo Shop. Any Echo Points currently in your account can be used until August 1st, 2023 – 10: 30 AM Pacific, with items heavily discounted in the Echo Shop.
It has been our pleasure to see this community grow and compete over the years. Thank you for your time and passion. For more information, please read Ready At Dawn’s blog post at https://medium.com/@EchoGames/an-update-on-the-future-of-echo-vr-7f074dca1ed1.
While a reversal of the shutdown seems less likely now that Ready at Dawn has completely neutered the free-to-play game’s in-game currency, the founders behind ‘The Fight For Echo’ initiative have setup a change.org petition so others can show their support. At the time of this writing over 25,000 people have signed.